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Lancater University receives £12 million investment for AI research

The investment will help in it’s leadership behind the research of the mathematics behind AI research


Lancaster University has received an investment for AI research of £12 million.

This new investment in the Lancaster Mathematics and Statistics department will help deliver “MARS: Mathematics for AI in Real-world Systems”. 

The research will have Lancaster working with government and industrial partners to help provide AI aided “solutions” to “real-world” issues including health, manufacturing, and cyber security.

Lancaster University has been specially chosen for such an investment due to its current work with mathematics and statistics, within AI aided fields such as epidemic modelling, aerospace, and data science.

As a result, the size of the mathematics and statistics department in Lancaster will grow, as Lancaster is providing new positions including 10 new academics, eight post-doctoral researchers, and 10 new PhD research places at Lancaster; all as part of this newly provided research investment.

This new investment will see changes for students currently studying a degree related to mathematics or statistics. It will result in the addition of new modules to the Lancaster curriculum, and a distinctive programme for students to specialise in government and industry-focused applications in dynamical modelling for AI.

This MARS investment for Lancaster is part of a bigger £156 million investment by Research England to help fund 18 universities in England with outstanding research units and help expand them. This funding is coming from Research England’s Expanding Excellence in England Fund, or E3. 

Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise at Lancaster University, Professor Louise Heathwaite, said: “MARS is a hugely exciting development for Lancaster, injecting maths research into AI developments and strengthening Lancaster University’s position as a regional, national and international leader in next-generational research.

“Through its close collaboration and partnerships with industry and government, MARS further builds on Lancaster’s outstanding track-record as a regional economic anchor institution facilitating and supporting economic growth and societal benefits.”

Professor Peter Atkinson, Executive Dean of Lancaster University’s Faulty of Science and Technology, furthered this by saying that the investment is a representation of the calibre of the university’s existing research in maths and statistics as well as across the field. He stated:

“The investment in applied mathematics will initiate the growth of mathematics and statistics at Lancaster into a comprehensive mathematics department, capable of even greater external engagement and impact, which is exciting for the region. Our strong track-record in inter-disciplinary working, and external collaborative work with industry, government and the third sector, means Lancaster is very well positioned to take full advantage of this investment and ensure benefits will be realised in both scientific research and more widely in the region.”

Dr Steven Hill, Director of Research at Research England, said: “We have invested in research units in universities right across England. This will diversify the regional spread of research disciplines to support the sustained enhancement of research capacity across England, and enhance the skills base, build and diversify talent and bring disciplines together to develop new skillsets and “future leaders” in areas of research excellence where there is untapped potential.

“Our investment will also help to reinforce the contribution of HEPs to their region through strategic local partnerships, focusing on sharing resources and infrastructure and generating local impact, backed by robust institutional leadership. We’re excited to see how these units develop over the next five years.”